Academia’s Binder Full of Women

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

In the last presidential election, the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, received much derision when he announced in a debate that as governor of Massachusetts, his team assembled “a binderful of women” as the top applicants for state jobs.

h/t ‘mexworld’ FB account

(The barbs weren’t all from those who prize the politically correct either. Two memorable photo-shop takeoffs took dead aim at the Clintons. One featured the former first lady on the phone saying, “No I don’t have the binderful of women.” Another featured former President Clinton himself giving his infamous smirk at the camera with the “quote” “Where is that binderful of women?”)

It turns out, that then-Governor Romney’s approach was standard operating procedure in academe at the time.

“A little over ten years ago, two adequately eminent sociology departments swiped two of my colleagues,” sociologist Gaye Tuchman wrote on the academe blog maintained by the American Association of University Professors. “For years, I wondered why the then-dean didn’t try to stop those raids; I’ve finally decided that the answer lies in a tangle of college and interdepartmental politics and corporatization, as well as the fact that one of the swipes was a woman.”

“(In the not so distant past, our then-dean seemingly sat by as several major universities raided women from several departments).” Tuchman is a professor emerita at the University of Connecticut.

But what exactly does “adequately eminently” mean, particularly as it is applied to sociology departments?